The Gunners, who have identified the Saint-Etienne defender as their top summer target, are set to battle it out with their north London rivals
Arsenal have made a €25 million (£22.5m/$28.5m) bid to sign Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba although they are set to face competition from their north London rivals Tottenham for the 18-year-old.
According to sources close to the player, the Gunners have opened discussions with ASSE and put their first offer on the table, although no agreement has yet been reached.
As reported by Goal, Saliba is Arsenal’s top summer transfer target as Unai Emery looks to improve his defence ready for the 2019-20 campaign.
There is, however, likely to be strong competition from Spurs for the centre-back, with the Champions League finalists expected to make a counter offer for Saliba in the coming days.
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Indeed, it is expected that there will be a battle between the north London clubs to secure the French youngster’s signature, although Arsenal are still considered to be the favourites to win the race.
Saliba enjoyed a breakthrough season with Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne in the 2018-19 campaign, making 17 appearances in all competitions.
Arsenal, meanwhile, conceded a total of 51 goals in the Premier League last season, with Emery keen to take measures to strengthen that area of his team.
Shkodran Mustafi has been singled out for criticism for his performances over the last 12 months, while Laurent Koscielny will be 34 in September, with his contract expiring in 2020.
The Gunners have been watching Saliba extensively over the 2018-19 campaign and have been impressed by his maturity, while he stands at an imposing 6’4″ and fits the type of profile of player Emery is looking to recruit.
Saliba signed a new four-year contract in April, but it is understood that the Ligue 1 outfit are aware that it will be hard to keep hold of the France Under-19 international for another season.
Arsenal may well have to up their bid to land the defender, however, with Spurs’s interest in the player potentially driving up the price.
As reported by Goal, the Gunners are set to have a restricted transfer budget of £45m ($57m) to operate with in the summer transfer window following their failure to secure Champions League qualification.
That figure can rise through player sales, however, with the club looking at moving on a significant number of the first-team squad to help boost the budget and trim the wage bill.